Visiting a restaurant that serves an internationally inspired menu featuring heritage breed meats and sources local, organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible requires a fat wallet, right? Not if you’re talking about Heritage Eats, which opened this spring in Napa’s Bel Aire Plaza. The “fast fine” concept is the brainchild of co-owners Ben Koenig IV and Chef Jason Kupper, who first met in 2012 as employees at Fagiani’s. Kupper’s wife, Widi, brings more than 15 years of fine dining experience and helps run the kitchen as well as the baking program.
“We run things the same as a fine dining restaurant regarding products, standards and cleanliness,” says Kupper, who designed the roomy, immaculate kitchen and back of the house with top-of-the-line equipment and storage—and an eye toward the future.
The menu itself spans the globe, and customers can choose from pre-conceived delights like Jamaican bao (jerk chicken with cabbage slaw, Asian pickle and pineapple habanero sauce between steamed, light buns) braised pork tacos (corn tortillas stacked with braised pork shoulder, pico de gallo, cabbage slaw, roasted corn, edamame, salsa roja and lime crema sauces) or chicken tikka masala (excellent and with quite the kick), among many other sandwiches, wraps, salads and rice bowls. Guests also can design their own meals with various meats (or falafel), breads, sides and custom made sauces. And there’s a popular kids menu. House made drinks include horchata, Thai iced tea, hibiscus tea and Vietnamese iced coffee—all of which can be enhanced with tapioca pearls (think bobo shakes with a twist). Craft beer and local wine are also available.
The restaurant clearly displays which farms its heritage breeds and other products are sourced from. “Heritage breeds are at risk for becoming extinct unless there’s a demand,” says Kupper. The plan here is to increase that demand. There’s also a big focus on customer service. “The employees are the heart and soul of the company,” says Koenig, who specializes in front of the house and business operations.
Heritage Eats also has pledged to give $25,000 in its first year to Share Our Strength, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding hungry children in the United States. Future plans include expanding the restaurant’s concept into other Bay Area locations. “We’re on the cusp of change in food service,” says Koenig. “We offer food that’s fast, affordable and has lots of flavor. We hope to lead the pack.”
With highly impressive flavor, presentation, standards and quality, the Heritage Eats experience is outstanding.
The next wave of culinary enjoyment is here: personalized experiences. No, this doesn’t mean going to a restaurant and ordering something that isn’t on the menu. It means personally connecting with local, professional chefs for unmatched private dining experiences.
San Francisco-based Cozymeal (which recently expanded to Los Angeles) offers cooking classes, corporate team building and events, farmers market tours and private dining—all hosted by chefs. Venues vary from the chefs’ restaurants or homes to your office or home, depending on experience (and no, they don’t bring the farmers market with them—they take you there first and then teach you how to prepare what you’ve collected). It also offers pop-up fine dining experiences at select high-end restaurants—an easier way to get the most out of sometimes hard-to-get reservations.
Participating local chefs are located throughout the Bay Area, and several are in Marin County. One Marin favorite is Chef Sami (pictured here), who, after spending the last 12 years traveling the world working on yachts and in Michelin-starred restaurants, now has a beautiful baking space in Sausalito. She teaches classes on the art of making croissants with both traditional and newly created fillings and flavors. Croissant doughnuts, anyone?
Another spin on personal experiences is now offered by IfOnly, an online charitable platform that offers exclusive dream experiences including food, wine and spirits, entertainment, sports and travel—with a charity benefitting from every purchase. Its new San Francisco Personal Chef experiences bring a chef (there are many too choose from) into your home to prepare and serve an amazing meal. Proceeds for those experiences benefit Tipping Point, which supports various nonprofits in the Bay Area (some of whom are from Wine Country). Everybody wins!
If you’re a professional chef who’s interested in participating in either of these ventures, you’ll be happy to know both are expanding their services—go for it!
As new homes rise in North Bay neighborhoods leveled by fire, it appears life is slowly returning to normal. There is, however, a factor we cannot underestimate: the ever-present risk that comes wit...
Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..